What Are Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are research studies conducted with the participation of human volunteers that help make new advances in science and health possible.

Also referred to as clinical research or research studies, clinical trials are well-designed studies that collect information about diseases, disorders, and health conditions through the help of human volunteers, as opposed to animal studies, which are known as preclinical research studies.

Many clinical trials are designed to evaluate the effectiveness of new medications, treatments, medical devices, and other interventions, and many of the medicines, vaccines, and other therapies available to patients today are the direct result of clinical research.

Clinical trials also may be conducted to assess the impact of surgical techniques, diagnostic tests, and more.

What is the purpose of clinical research?

Clinical studies are conducted to find out the answers to any number of questions about our health and fuel discoveries in the form of new therapies and treatments to help treat a range of conditions. Depending on the specific clinical trial, the goal may be to find ways to:

  • Screen for a health condition.
  • Treat a health condition.
  • Bring more innovative, effective treatments to the market.
  • Prevent a health condition.
  • Help improve the quality of life of those living with a health condition.
  • Uncover new information about a health condition.

Before any new medical treatment can be approved by government organizations, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, clinical research must be conducted to assess the effectiveness and safety of the intervention; this ensures the medication, therapy, or device works and is safe for use in humans.

Doctors and other prescribing healthcare providers cannot prescribe medications or recommend medical treatments that haven’t first been studied via clinical research.

For patients, the purpose of joining a clinical trial may include the opportunity to:

  • Gain access to new investigational medications or therapies that are not yet available on the market.
  • Help advance knowledge about a condition, how to screen for it, and which treatments and interventions can help.
  • Access care and attention from qualified clinical health providers as part of the study.

Stay informed about opportunities to participate in clinical trials with updates from BioNews

As part of our mission to empower, inspire, and champion the patient voice and engage, inform, and connect the global rare disease community, we at BioNews partner with clinical trials organizations to help get the word out about opportunities to participate in research studies related to our rare and chronic disease patient communities.

If you’re interested in learning more, please email [email protected].